Skip to main content

Jerry Jones put his money where his mouth is. 

Unfortunately for Odell Beckham Jr., the outspoken owner of the Dallas Cowboys made it clear that he would rather invest in someone with a reputation for letting his play do the talking rather than someone who’s more name than game at this point. 

With longtime Indianapolis Colts wideout T.Y. Hilton joining a dynamic offense that boasts plenty of star power, the Cowboys certainly look well-stocked for what should be a deep playoff run. Meanwhile, despite speculation about potentially signing with Dallas, Beckham remains unemployed in mid-December. 

While Hilton holds a special place in the hearts of Colts fans, there’s no doubt he’s past his prime. However, the fact he still secured a gig with the Cowboys over someone who surely would have gotten a stamp of approval from Jerry Jones in the past says everything you need to know about OBJ’s dramatic decline. 

Dallas gives T.Y. Hilton a chance to finally win a Super Bowl ring

Although he was a vital member of a perennial playoff contender, T.Y. Hilton never came close to hoisting the Lombardi Trophy with the Colts. However, by taking his talents to Dallas, the four-time Pro Bowler has a legitimate shot at doing what Odell Beckham Jr. did a year ago. 

Considered one of the top deep threats of his generation, Hilton certainly doesn’t have the same speed that helped him rack up 631 catches for 9,691 yards and 53 touchdowns in 10 seasons in Indianapolis. In fact, the veteran went from being a No. 1 receiver to a rotational player to out of football. Yet even though his numbers dropped significantly in his final three seasons with the Colts, Hilton clearly captured the attention of the Cowboys’ front office enough to convince the franchise to take a flyer on him. 

Signed to a one-year, $800,000 contract that includes plenty of postseason-based incentives, the 34-year-old rounds out a rock-solid depth chart headlined by CeeDee Lamb and Michael Gallup. Even if Hilton only plays in three- or four-receiver sets, he should be able to make an impact, given how much defenses have to worry about the Cowboys’ other weapons. 

Needless to say, going from watching games at home to joining a Super Bowl contender has to be a heck of a way to end the year for Hilton. 

Cowboys signing Hilton should be a harsh reality check for Odell Beckham Jr.

Meanwhile, seeing a Cowboys team with championship aspirations sign a wideout whose best days are undoubtedly behind him has to sting for Beckham. 

Then again, should he really be surprised that Dallas went in a different direction? 

Jerry Jones showed no hesitation about airing his concerns about Beckham’s surgically repaired knee– a bold move that raised even more questions about the receiver’s ability to play this season. An owner speaking publicly about a free agent’s health is by no means the norm in the NFL, so Jones’ decision to question Beckham’s ability to contribute essentially ended any idea of a union with the Cowboys. 

What makes the Hilton signing so fascinating is that bringing OBJ to Dallas is exactly the type of move Jones loves to make. Perhaps no owner in professional sports loves the spotlight more than the 80-year-old, and the Cowboys have rarely passed on the opportunity to add big-name players during his tenure. 

Yet, with his team firmly in the mix to represent the NFC in Super Bowl 57, Jones resisted any temptation to make OBJ a Cowboy. 

And to this point, no NFL team has determined it’s worth making Beckham a member of their roster. 

Considering some of the lackluster receiver depth charts around the league, it’s stunning to see the former New York Giants star sitting on the market for so long. It doesn’t seem like long ago that Beckham was considered one of the league’s biggest icons. But with 2023 right around the corner, it’s clear he doesn’t bring the same value to the table he did during his heyday.

Is the juice worth the squeeze anymore with OBJ?

Odell Beckham Jr. at Super Bowl 56
Odell Beckham Jr. | Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

Dallas Cowboys Playoff Picture: How the Cowboys Clinch a Spot in the NFL Playoffs in Week 15

Would the Los Angeles Rams have won the Super Bowl without OBJ? 

Perhaps not. 

But given all the potential for distraction he presents, it’s easy to see why Beckham has yet to find a new NFL home. Plus, for someone who comes with major injury red flags, it’s easy to see why teams have hesitations about guaranteeing millions of dollars on a player who’s played an entire season just twice since entering the league in 2014. 

Simply put: The idea of Beckham is much more attractive than the reality of what he is in 2022. 

Early in his career, he tortured cornerbacks and safeties and kept defensive coordinators up at night. And while he certainly showed flashes of brilliance during his time in LA, Beckham wasn’t anything close to the All-Pro version we saw in New York. 

Coming off another significant injury, there’s no guarantee the 30-year-old will have the same explosion that made him a nightmare to stop in his prime. When you factor in the drama and often unwanted attention associated with the OBJ experience, the risk vs. reward ratio tilts heavily toward not signing him. 

So, even if Odell Beckham Jr. believes he’s worthy of skipping out on the regular season and making his debut in the playoffs, he faces an uphill battle to make that dream a reality. 

In his case, maybe 2023 can’t come soon enough.

Have thoughts on this topic? Keep the conversation rolling in our comments section below.